First exoplanet to be imaged in color is lovely shade of blue


Until now, we've had to simply guess as to what planets outside our solar system might look like. For the first time, the light from an individual exoplanet has been analyzed by the Hubble Space telescope. The planet is named HD 189733b, and while the image above is just an artistic rendering, we do know that it shines a wonderful cobalt blue.

A "Hot Jupiter", HD 189733b might resemble Earth from a distance thanks to its hue, but the two planets could hardly be more different. The exoplanet's atmosphere is above 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Storms consistently ravage HD 189733b, raining glass raindrops down through its gaseous skies. And if that wasn't bad enough, atomizing winds whip across the planet's surface at something like 4,300 miles per hour.

As to what exactly causes the deep blue light which shines from HD 189733b, nobody knows that much just yet. Even deciphering why Jupiter's spot remains red is a bit of a quandary to science — and our own gas giant is 63 light years closer. Until some time in the future, HD 189733b's lovely deep-blue glow will have to remain one of those wonderful enigmas that keeps science striving forward, and maybe one day we'll make it out there to see for ourselves.


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